On the way home I took the side trip to Bodie, the ghost town that is kept in an “arrested state of decay” and therefore one of the best preserved ghost towns in the West. It was very windy and dusty that day, and as you can see, there is not a tree in sight anywhere. It was a former gold mining town at 8,379 feet in elevation, with 10,000 inhabitants and 2,000 buildings, of which 65 were saloons, a red light district and a chinatown where opium was readily available. It was a lawless town with at least one shooting almost every day. Today there are 150 buildings left and only two permanent residents who are both park rangers of the State of California. The wind blows just about all the time, and the only obvious plant life is rabbit brush and sage and some scrawny grasses. Summers are blazing hot and winters are hellishly cold. It is now visited by about 200,000 people a year.
This was a difficult painting for me because in reality it’s all just different shades of brown and gray with very little contrast, so I emphasized the rabbitbrush even though it was past it’s prime and was also a shade of light brown. And it was done from a photo since it was too windy and dusty and cold to actually sit and paint.